12/18/2014

Gifts for Idiots

In the crush of holiday shopping, it's easy to forget to take time to thank the season's real innovators, those who work at the frontiers of imagination to add ever more useless crap to the world. This season, let's honor them with the ridicule they so richly deserve before consigning their wares to the landfill of memory.


The Selfie Brush "makes your cellphone easy to hold for the best selfies ever"

because what girl doesn't want to turn her iPhone into a cheap plastic hairbrush?


The Theradome LH80 Pro laser helmet costs $895 and promises to slow hair loss. Though it admits new hair growth may take up to a year to appear, this is worth every penny to the giver who gets another person to spend 365 days looking like an extra from TRON.



Even the most die-hard atheist might feel a bit blasphemous about taking a bite out of the baby Jesus, even if he is in reality a chocolate-covered cherry limned in frosting. But don't worry: this edible Nativity scene is one of Oprah's Favorite Things. The thought of her chowing down on the wise men might be disturbing but she's the closest thing we have to a deity, so if She says it's okay, it's okay. Bon appetit.  



Finally, for only $12,500, Celestis Pets will launch a "symbolic portion of [your pet's] cremated remains" into deep space and "provides your beloved pet with an incredible journey through the stars, allowing them to explore places they could have only dreamed of in life." I'm not sure what my cat Rocky dreamed but I'm pretty sure he would have spent that money on hookers and blow.


Here's to a happy holiday season filled with fun, good cheer and the sneaking suspicion that if you are seriously considering sending his ashes into zero gravity, Fido will chew your soft parts in your sleep.


10/26/2014

Pink Ribbon Products: From Car Horns to Handguns

This is a bagel. What
did you think it was?
What would October be without a smorgasbord of pinktastic breast cancer awareness-themed treats from cookies, mints, hard lemonade, jelly beans, popcorn and  PEZ to ribbon-shaped cakes, chocolates, cupcake sprinkles, lollipops, pasta and bagels? Rarely has life-threatening illness tasted so delicious.

Of course, we shouldn't forget the memorial offerings not meant to pass through the alimentary canal: perfume, knee socks, beer koozies, curling irons, chewing gum, flip flops, beach balls, tote bags, vegetable peelers, bathrobes, fishing rods,chip clips, aprons, emery boards, tiaras (tiari?), golf tees, teddy bears, car fresheners, tablecloths, tambourines, mailbox covers, guns, gnomes, cowbells and vibrators.

Puns are a perennial favorite and seem to grow more tortured with each passing year. Suit up in a pink ribbon Speedo from Breaststroke 4 Hope, "designed to inspire the aquatic community to dive in and make a difference. Let's fight breast cancer together, one lap at a time." (That last bit would make a good strip club promotion, too.) While I'm sure this is an earnest, worthwhile endeavor, with its website listed as Coming Soon and 12 likes to date on Facebook, someone needs to get out of the pool and get to work.

The Keep A Breast Foundation appeals to youth culture with "iboobies!" wristbands and makes early detection cool with its #checkyourselfie Twitter campaign. I'm happy that, aside from a few confused bird lovers, its site reaches hip youngsters who won't pay attention to important things with boring or yucky names. Though its moniker is catchy, I wish KAB had found a different play on words to suggest we keep both breasts. Perhaps the bracelet should say "ibooby!", though it seems wrong to play favorites with one's breasts...or fun bags, for any young people reading this.

Baker Hughes, an oilfield service company, painted 1,000 of its drill bits pink, apparently to raise awareness miles underground where they will hydraulically fracture rock to free patches of oil. It then donated $100,000 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and adopted the slogan "Doing Our Bit for the Cure." The company reported $5,700,000,000 in revenue with a net profit of $336,000,000 in the first quarter of 2014. Projected annually, Baker Hughes has given .007% of its profits to the charity. In this instance, it would seem that the "bit" has a third meaning, as in "Giving a Little Bit for the Cure."
The Komen foundation, which licensed the use of its signature pink hue, has come under fire for partnering with a company that pumps toxic chemicals into the earth, potentially poisoning drinking water and offgassing pollutants that accelerate climate change (if you believe in that sort of thing). Perhaps Komen could use a new motto for its tees, hats and gloves: Frack Cancer. It's a tad naughty but still appropriate for a church picnic.That idea is free of charge but if you use it, can I claim it on my taxes?

*****

I began my journey into the heart of pinkness innocently enough, intending only to write about JC Penney's new ads, in which pennies (get it?) are held over women's breasts. Critics complain they devalue women but I say kudos to them for sexualizing small change. Lincoln would be so proud. At least they tell us to save them, not pinch them. That would be disrespectful.


Once I started looking into the subject, I couldn't help but notice that there are an awful lot of products associated with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I have catalogued some of the more memorable ones here. It is by no means an exhaustive list but I can tell you it has exhausted me.

*****

Gear for the sportswoman or man who's comfortable in his masculinity.  

*****


No matter how you choose to adorn your garden and car or wildly overestimate the resale value of commemorative coins, please do not ever do this to your dog.


*****


At least two of these items make bath time lots of fun. Getting drunk and needing more cowbell is up to you. Unfortunately, researching the be-ribboned vibrator has negatively impacted my Amazon recommendation list.
*****

Perhaps my favorite product tie-in is this special, limited edition of the PedEgg, a cheese grater-like callus remover, which makes sense because, as we all know, feet are the boobs of the legs.

*****

Of the above products, gun, alcohol and vibrator sales benefit cancer research. The National Football League is the real hero here, donating 8% of profits from sales--this month only--of its half dollar coins. (Why not give them directly to charity? They are money, right?) Since October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the NFL will do its part to raise awareness by continuing to beat women with impunity and children where indicated. You're welcome.



More like this:
Good News. Really.
More Louise Hay Garbage
Tales from the Waiting Room
I See Your Breast and Raise You a Penis: A Word Game